Only for the second time in the history of Federation Cup Volleyball Championship has a team secured a double. Two 3-0 wins by Kerala, rampaging through a Tamil Nadu side in the final, and was completely in command against a usually sturdy Railways for the women’s title. Their previous double-winning performance was from the 2012-13 season.
Kerala, led by Jithin and coached by Abdul Rassak, a member of the 1986 Asian Games Bronze winning side, led the team to a grueling victory over Punjab in the semi-finals. The final was hyped to be a very interesting contest but failed to live up to the expectations as the Kerala team romped to an easy victory.
Both the teams had the right mixture of youth and experience but the youngsters from Kerala stepped up to the big occasion.
Tamil Nadu didn’t help their cause by floating a handful of serves either over or on the net. There was a glimpse of hope for Tamil Nadu when they took a 9-8 lead in the second set but that was quickly squished away by Jerome who made an entry with a venomous spike and parity was restored.
The third set was merely a formality as Kerala rushed to an 18-12 lead. And it was easy coasting for the Kerala team to victory.
The women’s final was even more one-sided than the men’s final. The Railways were a pretty strong team on paper with the likes of Minimal Abraham, Priyanka Bora, Terin Antony, and Nirmal. But on the field, they were no match for the women from Kerala, lead by Rekha.
Trailing 3-13 was humiliating for the Railways and to make thing worse with a treble of dinks in the first set.
The second set was pretty straightforward. The Railways fought harder but the Kerala team stepped it up big time. They just seemed to have answers for everything the Railways were throwing at them.
The Railways came out all guns blazing in the third set. Despite having the lead for the majority of the third set, they failed to capitalize on them and the Kerala team coasted to the finish line. The two wins show the glory days are indeed well and truly back for Kerala.